The late Anastasia (Ana) Kriegel
Ana Kriegel must have thought "her dreams came true" when she heard that one of the boys accused of her murder wanted to meet her in a local park, a barrister has told the Central Criminal Court.
Brendan Grehan SC for the prosecution in his closing speech to the jury on Friday, June 7, said that Ana "craved friendship" and "bounded out of the house" when Boy B told her that Boy A wanted to meet her. When they met, Mr Grehan said, she fought for her life and suffered a violent death.
The accused, who are both 14, cannot be named because they are minors. They have each pleaded not guilty to murdering the 14-year-old Kildare schoolgirl at Glenwood House, Laraghcon, Clonee Road, Lucan on May 14 last year. Boy A is further charged with Ana's aggravated sexual assault in a manner that involved serious violence to her. He has pleaded not guilty to that count also.
Mr Grehan began his closing speech by saying that the facts of the case are "horrendous enough" and he does not intend to "inflate matters". He pointed out that the jury is dealing with the, "tragic death of a 14 year-old girl in circumstances where the prosecution says she was sexually assaulted." Added to that, he said, is that the prosecution says this came about as the result of the actions of two 13-year-old boys.
He said: "I don't intend to inflate matters beyond their realistic terrible nature as they have been recited and unfolded before you."
He said that both accused had lied to the gardai when they were investigating Ana's mysterious disappearance on May 14, 2018. He said the case against Boy A is that he is guilty due to an "overwhelming forensic case" that connects him to the scene and items belonging to him, found in his house connect him back to Ana. He said the evidence is "comprehensive" and there is no innocent explanation.
The case against Boy B, he said, is very different. Counsel said there is no forensic evidence connecting him to the scene but instead the prosecution relies on "what came out of his mouth" in garda interviews.
Mr Grehan added: "A large amount of that were lies, untruths and half-truths." He said that Boy B "assisted the killer of Ana Kriegel" and in particular he "assisted and played a vital role in bringing Ana to the location where she was killed." He was present, Mr Grehan said, when she was brought to the ground, stripped, sexually assaulted and "most likely when she was murdered". He then helped in covering up by his lies to gardai, Mr Grehan said.
Counsel added: "Any suggestion that he assisted in this matter without the knowledge of what was to happen is not credible." He said Boy A had told him in advance that he intended to kill Ana. He added: "For him to say, 'I didn't think he would actually do it,' is simply not credible."
Mr Grehan explained to the jury that if a person knowingly helps somebody else in committing a crime they are also guilty.
Counsel then talked about Ana, telling the jury that, "where she was in life played a part in how she ended up." She was bullied, he said, and she dressed and acted differently to others her age. She engaged in attention seeking and she "desperately wanted to be noticed". She craved friends and friendship, he said, adding: "For that reason it made her vulnerable and an easy mark for somebody who knew she wanted friendship."
Mr Grehan reminded the jury that they heard from Ana's father Patric Kriegel who last saw his daughter when she left their home on the Monday evening at about 5 o'clock. He described her as "happy" and Mr Grehan said we know the reason she was happy was because Boy B told her that Boy A wanted to see her and she liked Boy A. Mr Grehan said: "It must have seemed all her dreams came true as she grabbed her favourite top and bounded out of the house."
When her mother Geraldine found out at about 5.40pm that Ana had gone out she was immediately concerned, Mr Grehan said, and began searching for her. But by this time, according to the prosecution case, Ana was already dead.
Gardai found Ana's body three days later in an abandoned house about a 20 to 30 minute walk from her home. She was naked but for a pair of socks and a piece of blue insulation tape was wrapped around her neck. She was bloodied and bruised, Mr Grehan said, and there was a suggestion by a doctor who pronounced her dead that she had been dragged by the tape tied around her neck to where her body lay. Her phone was broken on the floor, most of her false nails had broken off.
Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy identified "extensive injuries" to the head and neck which had caused her death. There were, Mr Grehan said, bruises, abrasions and scratches to her "entire body" and he suggested her clothes were off when she suffered those injuries. Professor Cassidy also pointed to evidence that Ana put up a struggle but "may have been unconscious when sexually assaulted."
Mr Grehan reminded the jury of the evidence of Mr John Hoade of Forensic Science Ireland who examined blood spatter at the scene and found that Ana was struck several times with a weapon as she lay on the floor. He also said she bled in one area for some time before her body was moved. A concrete block and a wooden board found at the scene had Ana's blood on them.
Mr Grehan said the pathology and forensic evidence showed that, "Ana suffered a very violent death where she fought for her life." He added: "There's no doubt that Ana Kriegel did not simply succumb into unconsciousness."
Her top, he told the jury, was "completely ripped asunder" and stained with her blood, as were her bra, underwear and hoodie. Her bra, he said, had been "violently forcibly removed". He further told the jury that forensic scientists found semen on her top and matched the DNA to Boy A. DNA matching Boy A was also found on Ana's neck and on the tape around her neck. Counsel further pointed to blood matching Ana's DNA that was found on Boy A's boots, on a backpack found in a wardrobe in his bedroom and on a mask, gloves and knee pads found in the backpack.
Mr Grehan then showed the jury CCTV footage showing the alleged movements of Boys A and B on the day Ana died which, counsel said, "undermines and exposes the suggestions made by both accused."
Counsel told the jury that Boy A told gardai that on the evening Ana went missing he met Ana in the park and was surprised to see her. She asked him out and he "let her down gently". Soon afterwards, he said, he was assaulted by two people in the park. Mr Grehan said CCTV does not support this claim and suggested this was a, "story made up by [Boy A] to explain away the injuries he had."
He said the bag found in his wardrobe containing the "ghoulish mask" and other items was the same he was seen wearing in the park on CCTV.
Mr Grehan described Boy A's interviews, in which he told gardai he was not in the abandoned house, as being like a child who has eaten the biscuits and has "chocolate all around the mouth and they are still saying they didn't do it."
He further told the jury they can, "discount any possible consensual activity taking place on that dirty, dark floor." He said there is also nothing to suggest that Ana, "simply succumbed to some kind of overture. She fought with her life. She was murdered by [Boy A] and he sexually assaulted her in a very violent way in the process."
Mr Grehan then turned to the prosecution case against Boy B, saying the evidence against him comes "from his own mouth" in interviews he gave to gardai on May 24 and 25 and in July 7, 2018. Mr Grehan said that the jury now knows that Boy B was in the house and witnessed Ana being "flipped" onto the ground, strangled and stripped. He told gardai that he left when he saw Boy A about to take off Ana's bra. He did not tell gardai, Mr Grehan told the jury, about seeing any blood or seeing Ana fight back or, "any of the violence that had to be occasioned against her."
He described Boy B as "highly intelligent, articulate and composed." He was, "not in the least bit" intimidated by his surroundings in the garda station, Mr Grehan said. Counsel said that gardai implored and pleaded with him to tell the truth during 17 hours of interviews and showed "incredible restraint in the face of what they were faced with." He said he wanted to say that before it is suggested that he was "put upon" by gardai. He said: "The evidence you have seen suggests very much otherwise."
He said Boy B gave multiple versions of what happened, each time insisting he was telling the truth. Mr Grehan said the boy changed his story when Gardai showed him CCTV evidence that contradicted his version of events and only admitted being in the field near the abandoned house after gardai told him a witness had seen a boy going into the field.
Mr Grehan said Boy B knew there was "no romantic interlude coming" when he called to Ana's house to tell her Boy A wanted to see her. Boy B said he and Ana met Boy A by a fence in the park but Mr Grehan said "there was no meeting in the park".
Counsel said CCTV and witness evidence suggested that when Boy B claimed they met in the park, Boy A was already in the abandoned house. Mr Grehan asked: "Was he dressed in what he had with him? We don't know, but the suggestion that they met [Boy A] at the fence is not borne out by evidence."
Mr Grehan also asked why would it be necessary "in this modern age" for Boy A to meet Ana in the park to tell her he wasn't interested. Mr Grehan described the answers given by Boy B in interviews as "hedging his bets" and "using clever footwork, trying to outfox the gardai." He reminded the jury that Boy B told gardai he saw Ana in the park after the meeting with Boy A but later, after gardai said CCTV contradicted this suggestion, said that he thought it looked like Ana but it might not have been her.
Mr Grehan said that Boy B continued to lie after his fourth interview in which he said he had lied in his previous interviews and wanted to "retell the story," Boy B responded to the evidence that Ana's blood was found on Boy A's boots by saying: "No, no. [Boy A] wouldn't do that," and "Jesus, one of my best friends!" Counsel said: "We know he was there, witnessing all this. Is this lying or lying plus acting out a reaction."
By interview 7 Boy B accepted he was in the house and said that he saw Boy A get on top of Ana but Mr Grehan said his description of Ana "lying there uninjured, not putting up any resistance, being stripped naked" was "totally unbelievable". He also told the jury that Boy B initially said he didn't remember seeing Boy A wearing the mask, shin guards and knee pads but later, after gardai told him about the blood evidence, he said he remembered seeing him wearing those items.
Mr Grehan also reminded the jury that Boy B said in his interviews that Boy A had told him he wanted to kill Ana, but he said he didn't believe Boy A was serious. He described Boy B's lies as "devious".
He said Boy B "lured" Ana to the house and he bears responsibility for what he knew was going to happen. He knew Boy A had "expressed an intention to kill Ana". Mr Grehan concluded, saying Boy B's claim that he didn't know what was going to happen to Ana is, "simply unbelievable and you can safely convict him of murder."
Patrick Gageby on behalf of Boy A will deliver his closing speech to the jury in front of Justice Paul McDermott on Monday.